The stylish Superstar of Bollywood

With his trademark smile and mannerisms, Rajesh Khanna has stolen many hearts in the 70s

By Author  |  Mausumi Sucharita  |  Published: 7th Jul 2019  12:44 amUpdated: 6th Jul 2019  11:27 pm
Bollywood

It was not for nothing that Rajesh Khanna, who is known for his trademark expression, smile, style and mannerisms, became the first superstar of Bollywood. Once he knew his calling, the young handsome lad changed his first name from Jatin to Rajesh.

Rajesh Khanna’s debut film, Aakhri Khat was released in 1966. He starred in over 120 films in a career spanning over four decades. He has the record of playing lead role in 106 films for which he was given Filmfare Special Award. Popularly known as ‘Kaka’, he is also the only actor till date in Bollywood to give 15 consecutive solo hit films between 1969 and 1971.

According to his co-stars, such was his popularity across the country that fans did not just line up on the roads to get a glimpse of him, but they also sent him letters written in blood and kissed his car.

Music was a big attraction of his movies and Rajesh used to personally sit with music directors and select tunes. He has several critically-acclaimed films to his credit. He did different genres simultaneously and yet remained popular. Some of his hit movies include Aradhana, Amar Prem, Anand, Bawarchi, Haathi Mere Saathi and Aap Ki Kasam, among others.

Anand

Rajesh Khanna plays the role of Anand, a cancer patient, who breaks up with his girlfriend after realising that he has little time to live, which is shown as background flashes in some of the songs. Despite everything, he is cheerful and makes friends easily.

He is introduced to Dr Bhaskar (Amitabh Bachchan), a cancer specialist, by a doctor friend. Bhaskar, who treats poor patients, is bogged down by the suffering all around. But, Anand changes his perspective and helps him develop a positive attitude. One of the popular dialogues of the movie was… Babumoshai, zindagi aur maut uparwale ke haath hai jahanpanah… Hum sab toh rang manch ki kathputhliyan hain jinki dor uparwale ki ungliyon main bandhi hainSalil Chowdhury’s music is an added asset with evergreen songs like Zindagi kaisi hai paheli, Kahin door jab din dhal jaaye, and Naa jiya jaaye na.

Director: Hrishikesh Mukherjee
Producer: Hrishikesh Mukherjee
Cast: Rajesh Khanna, Amitabh Bachchan, Sumita Sanyal, Ramesh Deo, Seema Deo
Release date: March 12, 1972


Haathi Mere Saathi

It was the biggest hit of 1971 and had a Disneyworld feel to it. It’s the story of an orphan boy, Raju (Rajesh Khanna) who works on the streets with four elephants. Of the four elephants, Ramu is closest to his heart. He grows up and earns enough to have his own zoo and treats all animals as his friends. Chal chal chal mere saathi, o mere haathi was one of the popular songs from the movie.

Then comes along Tanu (Tanuja), the daughter of a rich man. Raju falls in love with her and they get married. After the couple have a baby, Tanu, who cannot trust animals, asks Raju to choose between family and animals. Raju is ready to give up his family, but his animal friends cannot see him in pain. So, Ramu tries his best to unite the couple and sacrifices his life at the end. The film’s music was rendered by the delightful duo, Laxmikant-Pyarelal and RD Burman.

Director: MA Thirumugam
Producer: Sandow MMA Chinnappa Devar
Cast: Rajesh Khanna, Tanuja, KN Singh, Mehmood junior, Madan Puri
Release date: May 14, 1971


Bawarchi

The film revolves around a joint family led by Shiv Nath Sharma (Harindranath Chattopadhyay). The members of Shanti Niwas are divided over small issues and do not trust each other, and, there is no peace in the house.

They have difficulty in retaining servants for more than a month. Then comes Raghunandan, who joins the family as a bawarchi (cook) and claims that he has worked with many famous personalities. He wins the heart of everyone, and, helps them develop trust and understanding. At the end, they come to know that the multi-talented Raghu is actually a Professor and is on a mission to help families, which are on the brink of breaking up. Madan Mohan’s music and narration by Amitabh Bachchan are added attractions.

Director: Hrishikesh Mukherjee
Producer: Hrishikesh Mukherjee
Cast: Rajesh Khanna, Jaya Bhaduri, Harindranath Chattopadhyay, AK Hangal, Usha Kiran, Durga Khote, Asrani
Release date: July 7, 1972


Aradhana

A romantic drama in which Rajesh Khanna plays double role of son and father and it won Filmfare Award for Best Film. The movie opens with a court scene and Vandana (Sharmila Tagore) getting locked up behind bars.

She is seen reminiscing her past… where Arun Varma (Rajesh Khanna), an Indian Air Force fighter pilot, sings Mere Sapno Ki Rani Kab Ayegi Tu… and croons his way into the heart of Vandana. Shot atop an open jeep, driven by Sujit Kumar, Arun’s co-pilot, who races to keep up with the mini train in which Vandana is seated, the song became a youth anthem in the ’70s. The hilly terrain, in which the train is travelling, and the picturesque locales make the song even more beautiful.

Arun and Vandana have a whirlwind romance and get married secretly. Soon after, Arun dies in a plane crash and leaves behind a pregnant Vandana. Arun’s family refuses to accept her as their daughter-in-law.

She gives up her baby for adoption and then joins the family, who adopted her son, as a nanny. She ends up in jail after the man who tries to rape her dies in a scuffle. When she returns from jail after many years, she is surprised to see her son, who looks just like his father.The climax is about how her son comes to know about her sacrifice and publicly acknowledges her as his mother. SD Burman’s music gave us many gems including Kora kagaz tha, Gunguna rahe hai bhawar, Roop tera mastana and Safal hogi teri aradhana.

Director: Shakti Samanta
Producer: Shakti Samanta
Cast: Rajesh Khanna, Sharmila Tagore, Sujit Kumar, Farida Jalal, Abhi Bhattacharya
Release date: November 7, 1969